Animal Aid's campaign for mandatory CCTV and independent monitoring in all UK slaughterhouses. Helping vets to see what happens in the stunning and slaughter areas when they cannot be present.

Our investigations

Our ground-breaking work to reveal what takes place behind closed doors in British slaughterhouses began in January 2009 when we planted fly-on-the-wall cameras inside JV Richards, a Cornish slaughterhouse. This was quickly followed by investigations at AC Hopkins in Somerset and Pickstock in Derbyshire. We have now secretly filmed inside sixteen UK slaughterhouses and found welfare breaches and poor practice in nearly all of them. Time and again, our cameras reveal that slaughterhouses are violent bloody places where animals do not give of their lives freely, but they are stolen.

Our latest investigations are into a Welsh slaughterhouse ‘Farmers Fresh’, this was our first in Wales. We also fairly recently investigated ‘PJ Hayman and Sons’, which busted the myth of a local, small-scale ‘family-run’ slaughterhouse somehow being more humane. It is all too easy to fall for industry and marketing spin, especially when the truth can be so unpalatable, we really should be aware of what farmed animals go through in order to make an informed decision whether to support these industries. It’s not so easy to witness the truth, but we ask on their behalf…

Dare You Watch?

Click on slaughterhouse name to read the full details of what we found and the actions taken by the authorities

Farmer Fresh (Blurred)September 2019: Farmers Fresh Wrexham, Wales
Animal Aid placed hidden cameras in the lairage, loading and slaughter areas during Spring and Summer 2019. Once again, we have brought to light evidence of blatant staff incompetence and brutal treatment of animals.
PJ Hayman and Sons (Blurred)July 2018: PJ Hayman & Sons, Ottery-St-Mary, Devon
Animal Aid placed hidden cameras inside the slaughterhouse for two days in July of 2018. The footage shows several animals being beaten and mistreated.
Forge Farm (Blurred)May 2017: Forge Farm, Tunbridge Wells
Forge Farm meats was the fourteenth slaughterhouse investigated. We captured secret footage taken over the course of three days between April 12 and May 15, 2017 inside Forge Farm slaughterhouse. This revealed serious cause for concern over the way the animals were treated prior to slaughter, including stunning methods.
Malik Food Group (1) (Blurred)March 2017: Malik Food Group, Lancashire 
Animal Aid placed hidden cameras in the lairage and slaughter room over three days in March 2017. Incidents of lawbreaking and deliberate cruelty were uncovered, including sheep routinely having their throats repeatedly cut and animals being picked up and thrown by their fleeces.
Cheshire HalalMarch 2017: Cheshire Halal, Greater Manchester
Animal Aid filmed sheep being stunned and slaughtered over three days in March 2017. Animals were handled roughly, with one even being thrown over a gate.
A water buffalo attempts to jump out of a restraint boxOctober 2016: N Bramall & Son Ltd, South Yorkshire 
Animal Aid filmed sheep and cattle being stunned at this slaughterhouse for four days in October 2016. A severely distressed water buffalo was filmed attempting to jump out of the restraint box and sheep were documented running in circles to evade being stunned.
Slaughterhouse worker punches sheep in the throatDecember 2014: Bowood Yorkshire Lamb, North Yorkshire
Animal Aid filmed sheep being killed at this non-stun slaughterhouse for three days in December 2014. There were many problems at this slaughterhouse including the appalling lay-out which guaranteed additional suffering.
slaughterhouse worker punches pig in faceMarch/April 2011: Cheale Meats, Essex
Animal Aid filmed pigs being killed over four days in March and April 2011. At least two different workers stubbed their cigarettes out on the faces of pigs, while another punched a pig hard in the face for fun.
Goat attempts to escape stunning areaSeptember 2010: F Drury and Son, Wiltshire
Animal Aid filmed sheep, calves and goats being killed over two days in September 2010. As with, Tom Lang Ltd, many of the sheep slaughtered at F Drury and Son had their necks broken and their heads cut off immediately after their throats were cut, despite the law stating that the animals must be left for at least 20 seconds to ensure they are first dead.
Pig screams as electric tongs used on his or her bodyApril 2010: A&G Barber, Essex
Animal Aid filmed pigs being killed over three days in April 2010. This was one of the most violent slaughterhouses we filmed with one worker launching regular vicious and sadistic attacks on the animals.
slaughterman pulls sheep by fleece into stunning areaMarch 2010: JH Lambert, Norfolk
Animal Aid filmed sheep and pigs being killed over two days in March 2010. We filmed a great deal of violence inflicted on the sheep at this slaughterhouse: animals were dragged by their heads into the stun pen or were picked up by their fleeces and ears and forcibly thrown.
January/February  2010: ABP Sturminster Newton, DorsetABP Sturminster Newton The fifth slaughterhouse was another Soil Association-accredited slaughterhouse, this time in Dorset. Our footage from ABP revealed more abuses and legal breaches. Once again, the MHS was forced to take action and began building a case for the prosecution of at least one worker.
Stunned sheep hanging after throat has been cutOctober/November 2009: Tom Lang Ltd, Devon
Animal Aid filmed pigs and sheep being killed at this Soil Association-approved slaughterhouse over two days in October and November 2009. Sheep were picked up by their fleeces and thrown into the stun pen.
Slaughterman approaches cow waiting in stunning stallJune 2009: Pickstock, Derbyshire
Animal Aid filmed cows being slaughtered over three days in June 2009. Of all the ten slaughterhouses now filmed by Animal Aid, Pickstock was the only one that we did not film breaking animal welfare laws. That is not to say, however, that there was no suffering.
slaughterman looks at inadequately stunned pig screaming April 2009: AC Hopkins, Somerset
Animal Aid filmed pigs, sheep and suckling lambs being slaughtered over three days in April 2009. The slaughterman we filmed showed a callous disregard for the welfare of animals for which we believe he should have been prosecuted.
slaughterman stands on calf to make him stay still January 2009: JV Richards, Cornwall
Animal Aid filmed sheep, pigs and calves being killed over five days in January 2009. Despite it being illegal, we filmed many pigs being kicked in the head and face.

Workers Punished, Slaughterhouses Closed

As a result of our work, many slaughterers had their licences permanently revoked, two men were jailed for cruelty to animals at Cheale Meats after they beat and burned pigs, and two slaughterhouses – A&G Barber and Bowood Yorkshire Lamb – were forced to close down.

We are expecting further prosecutions in future.

Many more workers should have been brought to court but, when the coalition government came to power in 2010, it dropped all pending charges without a credible explanation. Animal Aid was forced to campaign to have the relevant government department stripped of its prosecution function, and this was achieved in 2011. Sadly, by then, many slaughterhouse workers had escaped justice.

Stubbing cigarette out on a pig's face
Stubbing cigarette out on a pig’s face

Supermarkets adopt CCTV

Prior to the legal requirement for there to be CCTV in all English slaughterhouses, this was of course only a voluntary measure. Ten major UK supermarkets insisted that their slaughterhouse suppliers install CCTV after they saw the undercover footage Animal Aid had taken inside randomly chosen slaughterhouses. Our campaign for CCTV to be installed in slaughterhouses was accepted by the ten largest – Morrisons, Waitrose, the Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Tesco, Lidl, Asda, Marks & Spencer and Iceland – along with wholesalers Booker, all agreed to deal only with slaughterhouses that have CCTV cameras installed. The RSPCA insists that all RSPCA Approved slaughterhouses have CCTV. However, none of the supermarkets have robust and independent monitoring, and we continue to encourage a change of law that would bring in independent monitoring of the footage.

The public demands CCTV

Animal Aid’s Welsh Autumn 2019 poll revealed that the people of Wales show overwhelming support for CCTV for Welsh slaughterhouses. 79% of respondents either strongly supported (54%) or tended to support (25%) the need for compulsory CCTV for Welsh slaughterhouses. Just 4% of respondents tended to oppose (3%) or strongly opposed (2%) the measure. With (13%) expressing no strong feelings either way and the remaining (3%) responding with ‘don’t know’.

Politicians demand CCTV

More than 140 MPs signalled their support for the campaign for mandatory CCTV by signing Early Day Motions or agreeing to be photographed with our campaign banners. And more than half of all Welsh Assembly Members pledged their support via a Statement of Opinion tabled by Rebecca Evans. More recently there has continued to be good cross-party support for the measure.

In the media

Our investigations have been featured all over the print and broadcast media, and helped to educate the public about the cruelties of slaughter. These are just a few of the national media headlines:

‘One of Britain’s largest halal slaughterhouses is under investigation over allegations of animal cruelty’, Daily Mail, 7 April 2017

‘Undercover secret video inside Sheffield slaughterhouse shows “nightmarish” animal “cruelty”‘, The Star, 25 January 2017

‘Should slaughterhouses be made to have CCTV cameras fitted?’, The Metro, 23 Aug 2016

‘Industry should pay for compulsory abattoir CCTV monitoring, report claims’, Meat Trades Journal, 22 Aug 2016

‘Cost of slaughterhouse CCTV monitoring revealed’, Farmers Weekly, 22 Aug 2016

‘Slaughtermen and abattoir bosses face magistrates over treatment of sheep’, The Press, 17 Apr 2016

‘’Slaughterhouse cruelty rife’: Abattoir workers torturing and electrocuting animals’, Daily Star, 16 Apr 2016

‘Is mandatory CCTV at slaughterhouses on its way?’, Business Watch, 13 Nov 2015

‘Pressure grows for CCTV to be installed in slaughterhouses’, Wales Online, 16 Oct 2015

‘CCTV “offers some real benefits” in slaughterhouses, says the FAWC’, Veterinary Record, 4 Feb 2015

‘Secret halal slaughterhouse film reveals “horrific” animal abuse’, Daily Telegraph, 3 Feb 2015

‘Inside the halal house of horrors: Sickening footage shows “evil” abattoir staff “taunting sheep before hacking them to pieces”’, Daily Mail, 3 Feb 2015

‘CCTV Footage Exposes Slaughterhouse Cruelty’, Sky News, 3 Feb 2015

‘CCTV Should Be Mandatory In Abattoirs’, Sky News, 19 January 2013

‘Animal cruelty pair jailed after being caught stubbing out cigarettes on pigs’ faces and hitting them with baton’, Daily Mail, 25 April 2012

‘Slaughterhouses could be forced to fit CCTV to prevent animal abuse’, The Guardian, 8 November 2011

‘Exclusive: Video Shows Pig Abuse At Abattoir’, Sky News, 29 July 2011

‘Revealed: Shocking cruelty at massive abattoir… but those responsible WON’T be prosecuted’, Daily Mail 29 July 2011

‘Supermarkets force abattoirs to fit CCTV after secret film exposes abuse’, The Guardian, 3 February 2011

‘Supermarket chain pledges CCTV in abattoirs to stamp out cruelty’, The Independent, 19 November 2010

‘Slaughterhouses could be forced to install CCTV cameras’, The Mirror, 9 November 2010

‘Secret abattoir video shows “sickening” abuse of animals’, The Guardian, 8 October 2010

‘Think going organic lets you eat meat with a clear conscience? This shocking investigation into a “humane” slaughterhouse will make you think again’, Daily Mail, 12 January 2010

‘Can Mr Benn really be unmoved by these pitiful sounds of slaughter?’, Daily Mail, 31 August 2009

Stopping the suffering

Our investigations have shown that the slaughter of animals is not a humane business, and countless people have adopted an animal-free diet as a result of our work. Those who wish to find out more can download a free Guide to Going Vegan.